When it comes to watching most viral videos, the real world payoff is pretty low.
Spend five minutes of your life checking out a keyboard-playing cat or singing along with a girl trying to decide which car seat to take and all you'll have to show for it is the personal satisfaction that comes from knowing that the end of your workday is now five minutes closer to finally happening.
While the latest addition to the growing YouTube canon of "Call Me Maybe" parody videos may be unabashedly cheesy, it does have one very important redeeming quality: watching it may result in you getting some cold, hard cash in the mail.
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The video, entitled "Pay Me Maybe," was produced by the office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and is designed to publicize a $7.5 million statewide settlement where people who took out payday loans in the city between 2005 and 2007 could qualify for restitution payments if they call a toll-free hotline or fill out a claim form.
Hence, the re-written chorus Carly Rae Jepsen's inescapable hit: "Hey, you just scammed me and that is crazy / But here's the number, so pay me maybe/ And all your other scams try to break me/ But here's the number, so pay me maybe."
Spokesman Matt Dorsey told the San Francisco Chronicle that the video was created by intern Jeanne Pastore as part of her now-completed summer internship with the City Attorney's office.
The spot is part of a larger restitution outreach program stemming from the terms of the recent settlement of a 2007 lawsuit Herrera filed against payday lenders Money Mart and Loan Mart for issuing loans at illegally inflated interest rates, often as high as 400 percent, and marketing them at primarily at low-income Californians.
The settlement mandates offending lenders make "reasonable efforts" to contact the wronged parties. However, Herrera's office has also taken the matter into its own hands and worked to get the word out about the settlement, which could yield up to $1,800 for each individual.
Putting the message out over the Internet isn't such a bad idea, seeing how the deadline to file claims cuts off on October 1.
As Herrera explained to the San Francisco Examiner, records of everyone who took out a payday loan during the time period covered by the settlement are spotty at best and, as a result, attempting to distribute information virally on the internet may be a good way to go.
"Bringing justice to victims of predatory payday lending means working aggressively to maximize restitution to all the low-income and moderate-income Californians who deserve it," Herrera said in a statement.
Click here for more info to see if you qualify for a piece of the settlement.
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